Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Steady job or healthy environment: What would you choose?

Click to play
Jobs Versus The Environment
  • Mountaintop removal coal mining provides jobs in West Virginia.
  • Environmentalists say it destroys nature and creates health problems.
  • "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America" airs August 14 and August 20.

Editor's Note: Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America" airs at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET Sunday, August 14, and 8 p.m. ET Saturday, August 20. Follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #battleforblair.

(CNN) -- Over the past few decades, there has been a shift toward more mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia.

Mountaintop mining blasts apart mountains and deposits debris in nearby valleys to reach the rich coal seams buried inside. About 50% of U.S. power comes from burning coal, and about a third of West Virginia's coal is mined this way.

But 57% of respondents to a CNN/ORC International Poll say they oppose mountaintop mining.

Miners and coal companies say mountaintop removal projects provide much-needed jobs. Their opponents say the cost of those jobs -- to the environment and nearby communities -- is just too high. In CNN In America's documentary, "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America Video," Soledad O'Brien reports on all sides.

For many in West Virginia, it feels like a choice: steady jobs or a healthy environment. What would you choose?

Share your comments below.